Have we arrived in Nineteen-Eighty-Four, version 2.0?
Yes -- if we are to believe the Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima. She introduces us to 56 year-old Kitty Bernard, an real estate agent whose daily movements are tracked by what Nakashima describes as the "watchful eye" of technology.
As Nakashima says: "welcome to the 21st century."
The 21st century world that Nakashima introduces is pretty scary. It's a place where most of Kitty Bernard's daily actions -- from her Google searches to her cellphone use to her RFID purchases at gas stations to her emails to her pizza purchase -- are recorded by a computer. The troubling thing is that Kitty Bernard could be any of us. Nothing she does or purchases is exceptional. Like her, most of our daily actions are being digitally recorded and then stored in some giant database in the sky.
Nakashima also conducted an excellent interview with privacy expert Jim Dempsey from the Center for Democracy and Technology who tells us how best to avoid the gaze of digital big brother. What both Dempsey and Nakashima show is that most of us are totally unaware of pc spyware or pretexting or data mining or any of the other myriad technologies which enable companies to know us more intimately than we know our best friends.
Nakashima's salient point is that technology is moving faster than the law and that we need Federal authorities to provide protection against the most intrusive. She is right. We need the government to shield us from the prying eyes of all those digital merchants for whom personal knowledge truly does equal power.
Welcome to Nineteen-Eighty-Four, version 2.0 where somebody somewhere is watching you read this.